EU review of national budgets proposed

April 15, 2010 at 2:13 PM
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BRUSSELS, April 15 (UPI) -- European Union economy minister Olli Rehn has proposed the European Commission review budgets of eurozone member states in advance of national parliaments.

"We should use the first months of the year, say January to July, to request draft national budgets," Rehn said in a speech at The European Policy Center in Brussels.

Having an international body take first crack at national budgets is sure to run into a protective reaction among state representatives Friday in Madrid during a finance ministers meeting, the EUobserver reported Thursday.

Rehn said the European Commission would not interfere "budget-line by budget-line." Instead, it would concern itself with "the overall budget, so that the commission could analyze and the eurogroup would make a peer review and recommendations," he said.

The proposal comes after months of concern over the size of debt in Greece, which has threatened to put one of the eurozone members in default.

With a shared currency among 16 member states, one country in default threatens the stability of the euro.

"There would be significant resistance from a number of countries if there is a perception that decisions on national budgets are shifting to the EU level," European Policy Center chief economist Fabian Zuleeg said.

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